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February 2021

**COVER REVEAL** A Chance Encounter by Rae Shaw

I’m really pleased to be able to take part in the cover reveal for A Chance Encounter, the latest book from Rae Shaw, who you may know as Rachel Walkley.

Julianna Baptiste, a feisty bodyguard, finds her new job tedious, that is until her boss, the evasive Jackson Haynes, spikes her curiosity. Who is behind the vicious threats to his beautiful wife and why is he interested in two estranged siblings?

Mark works for Haynes’s vast company. He’s hiding from ruthless money launderers.

His teenage sister Ellen has an online friend whom she has never met. Ellen guards a terrible secret.

For eight years their duplicitous father has languished in prison, claiming he is innocent of murder. The evidence against him is overwhelming, so why does Mark persist with an appeal?

Keen to prove her potential as an investigator, Julianna forces Mark to confront his mistakes. The consequences will put all their lives in danger.


Pre-order Link

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08X1PN4VH

US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08X1PN4VH

Publication Date: 24th March


About the Author

Rae Shaw is a pen name for the author Rachel Walkley.

Rachel is based in the North West of England. She read her first grown-up detective novel at the age of eleven, which proved to be a catalyst for filling many shelves with crime books, which still occupy her home and grow in number whenever she visits a book shop.

As well as crime, Rachel likes to unplug from the real world and writes mysteries that have a touch of magic woven into family secrets.


With thanks to Rae Shaw and Rachel’s Random Resources.

**BLOG TOUR** Death at Rainbow Cottage by Jo Allen

When the body of a man is found in what seems like an unprovoked attack outside the home of activist Claud Blackwell and his wife, Natalie, DCI Jude Satterthwaite wonders if the man’s personal life might hold clues as to why it happened. When a second victim is found outside Claud’s office, the Cumbrian police fear that a serial killer is targeting people because of their sexuality. What proves to be a challenging case is made trickier by the arrival of a new boss, someone who has already crossed paths with one of Jude’s team.

Death at Rainbow Cottage is the fourth in the Jude Satterthwaite series and while this could be read as a standalone, the previous books help to create an understanding of the main characters and the circumstances behind their relationships. I like Jude as a character and particularly enjoyed his interactions with his new boss. I look forward to seeing how this dynamic develops in future books, especially now she is aware that Jude knows about her past. My opinion of Jude did change, slightly, at the end of the book and, again, I look forward to seeing how this story develops in the future.

We see that what, initially, look like unmotivated attacks, are connected, but who would want to kill people who appear to offer no threat to anyone? Jo Allen provides us with several potential suspects and leaves us guessing until the end as to what their motive is. Although I was not surprised by the big reveal, I was shocked by this character’s actions leading up to it, not guessing what they would do.

One of the things I enjoy most about this series is the setting. As I am reading, I find myself visualising the long country roads and the desolate cottages – a perfect place to set a gruesome murder! My only criticism, and this is a personal view, is that I would like to read less about Ashleigh’s love of tarot. I feel that this detracts from what is a great series with engaging plots.


With thanks to Jo Allen and Rachel’s Random Resources.

Take a look at my reviews for the rest of the series:

Death By Dark Waters

Death at Eden’s End

Death on Coffin Lane

The Bodies at Westgrave Hall by Nick Louth

Local residents are not happy when Russian oligarch, Alexander Volkov, buys the historic Westgrave Hall, but are intrigued enough to visit when he throws a party for 1000 guests. While giving a private tour of the library, however, Volkov is shot dead, along with two other men. Knowing that he doesn’t have long before the local police are ousted by the security services, DCI Craig Gillard, is struggling to find evidence to show what actually happened. CCTV shows no one entering or leaving the library, everyone appears to have an alibi and the murder weapon is nowhere in sight. Is this a professional hit or the result of a love triangle? With the security services breathing down his neck, Gillard finds himself involved in his most prolific case to date.


I love a good ‘locked room’ mystery and in The Bodies at Westgrave Hall, Nick Louth has brought this genre bang up to date with a crime that is definitely of its time while still keeping you perplexed as to how the murders could have happened. In recent times, we have seen poisoning cases involving the likes of the Skripals and Alexei Navalny becoming worldwide news so the deaths of Russian oligarchs, albeit by a different method, is very topical. We are left, initially, to wonder whether politics are at play in the deaths or whether it is simply a case of old enemies finally calling time on their differences. I had my theories throughout, but found myself blindsided at the end, angry with myself for disregarding a piece of information that I had originally felt would prove to be important!


The plot is a complex one, showing how difficult it is for the police to mount an operation when there are other agencies involved, in this case the security services. The sheer size of the house also made it difficult for the police, meaning that they had to prioritise evidence, potentially missing clues which may prove to be useful. Although it was complex, I found the plot easy to follow, and felt it definitely had a ‘real time’ feel to it, as we saw the investigation unfold over the Christmas period.


As well as the characters we have got to know in previous books, Nick Louth has created a superb supporting cast in The Bodies at Westgrave Hall, some definitely more likeable than others. My favourite character had to be the man with a name that was so unpronounceable, he was known as Wolf. I once knew someone who learned English from watching episodes of Scooby Doo so I found Wolf’s Only Fools and Horses take on the English language hysterical. “Lovely bubbly!” as Wolf (not Del Boy) would say!

I’ve loved all of the Craig Gillard series, but I think I can safely say that this is one of my favourites to date. An engaging plot, superb characterisation and a mystery that keeps you guessing right until the end… hopefully it won’t be too long before we see what happens next to the Chief Inspector.

With thanks to Canelo and Net Galley for my ARC.

Take a look at my reviews for the rest of this series:

The Body in the Marsh

The Body on the Shore

The Body in the Mist

The Body in the Snow

The Body Under the Bridge

The Body on the Island


**BLOG TOUR** Alone in the Woods by Charly Cox

Teenager Addis Kensington arrives home with her friend, Emerson, to find her parents slaughtered in a scene straight out of a horror movie. While trying to contact her aunt, she makes a terrifying discovery: the killer is still in the house. On their arrival, the police, led by detective Alyssa Wyatt, find their worst fears have been realised when there is no sign of the girls anywhere, seemingly taken by the killer. To have any chance of finding the girls alive, Wyatt and her team must find out why private detective, Gabriel Kensington, and his wife were killed, uncovering a catalogue of crimes that have remained hidden for many years.

The Alyssa Wyatt series by Charly Cox have become some of my ‘must read’ books and I have been looking forward to reading this one. If you haven’t read the previous books in the series, this could be read as a standalone but I do thoroughly recommend the previous two, All His Pretty Girls and The Toy Box as they do give a great insight into Alyssa’s life and what makes her tick.

In Alyssa and her partner, Cord, Charly Cox has created hugely likeable characters with very realistic lives. Stories involving their families complement the main plot and do not overpower it unlike in many books of this genre. I find that many authors place too much emphasis on the detectives’ family life but here we see a very good balance, leaving you caring about Cord’s impending fatherhood and Alyssa’s relationship with her husband and children.

As well as seeing the police investigation into the murders and the missing girls, we also experience what the two teenagers are having to endure at the hands of their captor. We realise that there is more to this case than meets the eye and soon we are fearing for the safety of Addis and Emerson. I admired the tenacity of the girls who when faced with utmost danger somehow find the strength to continue.

There are a wide range of supporting characters in Alone in the Woods and I really liked how the author kept us guessing as to the motives of some of the people we meet. It is obvious that people are hiding something, but what? I found myself totally engrossed in the plot and couldn’t wait to see how everything fitted together, leaving me open-mouthed when the final reveal was made!

Charly Cox is becoming one of my favourite authors and Alone in the Woods has definitely confirmed my opinion. If you haven’t read any of this series yet, I recommend it highly – you won’t be disappointed!

With thanks to Hera Books and Net Galley and to Sarah Hardy at Book on the Bright Side for organising the blog tour.

The Empty House by Arthur Conan Doyle

It has been three years since Sherlock Holmes plunged to his apparent death in a confrontation with his nemesis, Moriarty, at the Reichenbach Falls. His companion, Dr Watson, is continuing to solve mysteries in his absence and he is about to face the toughest one yet: the locked room murder of Mr Adair. Little does Watson know that help is about to come from a most unexpected source…

This is a fantastic adaptation for children by Stephanie Baudet of the classic Sherlock Holmes story. Despite it being aimed at the younger market, however, I found it a super read and enjoyed it just as much as another of this series, A Study in Scarlet, that I read a while ago. The story has been simplified for younger readers but it has lost none of it’s excitement and sense of mystery. The illustrations also capture the text perfectly, bringing the story alive.

This series by Sweet Cherry Publishing is a perfect way of introducing children to the work of the great Arthur Conan Doyle. It can be purchased from https://www.books2door.com/ at a great price!

With thanks to Sweet Cherry Publishing and Net Galley for my ARC.

**COVER REVEAL** The Serial Killer’s Wife by Alice Hunter

Today, I’m really pleased to be taking part in the cover reveal for The Serial Killer’s Wife by Alice Hunter. I love the sound of this book and if it piques your interest too, I’ve included a pre-order link.

So addictive it should come with a warning…

So twisted it’ll keep you up all night… 👀

So plausible it’s terrifying… 😱

The Serial Killer’s Wife by Alice Hunter is available to pre-order now. Out 27th May. #DidSheKnow?


They’re saying he’s a monster. And they’re saying she knew.

Beth and Tom Hardcastle are the envy of their neighbourhood – they have the perfect marriage, the perfect house, the perfect family.

When the police knock on their door one evening, Beth panics. Tom should be back from work by now – what if he’s crashed his car? She fears the worst.

But the worst is beyond imagining.

As the interrogation begins, Beth will find herself questioning everything she believed about her husband.

They’re husband and wife – till death do them part…


Pre-order link: smarturl.it/SerialKillersWifeEB

With thanks to Ellie Pilcher and Harper Collins.

**BLOG TOUR** The Art of Death by David Fennell

When an art installation appears in Trafalgar Square, everyone is horrified to discover that the contents of the three glass cases are the preserved bodies of three missing homeless men. Purporting to be the work of an artist known only as @nonymous, the police know they need to act quickly as more gruesome pieces of art are promised very soon. As Detective Inspector Grace Archer and Detective Sergeant Harry Quinn discover the whereabouts of more bodies and the online videos accompanying the deaths, there is a realisation that someone close to them may have something to hide. With Grace being in the killer’s sights, will they be able to apprehend @nonymous before she becomes part of his ultimate art installation?

As soon as I heard about this book, I knew that this would definite be one for me and I was so right! From the off, we are drawn straight into the macabre plot when the bodies of three homeless men are discovered displayed as a piece of public artwork. The shadowy artist has left no trace of who they are, and any clues that the police do find soon lead to dead ends. I love a book that grabs me straight away and The Art of Death definitely did this, holding my attention to the very last page as more bodies are found in the most grisly of circumstances.

I have read many crime books where the internet is involved and The Art of Death serves as a reminder to be careful what we share online. I’m sure most of us have looked at the Facebook accounts of people we are not ‘friends’ with but certainly not for the same reason as our killer! We see our unknown ‘artist’ monitoring the pages of his prospective victims, in some cases befriending them to get the information he requires. We see how easy this is to do and is particularly unnerving when we witness him sitting in the same cafe as the women he is watching, knowing the fate that is about to befall them.

I quickly warmed to Detective Inspector Grace Archer, a woman with a past which I am sure will rear its head in any further books. The whole investigation team, I felt, was very balanced from the affable Detective Sergeant Harry Quinn to the icy DCI Clare Pierce and Klara, the intelligent tech expert. They are all characters I would love to see develop and so I hope that the author is planning a series!

The lead up to the denouement is tense and thrilling, and when we reach the end, we are left with a situation that threatens to remain in Grace’s thoughts and, again, could certainly reappear in future books. (Can you tell that I am hoping for more?!) This is a fantastic debut and one that I hope will be a huge success. Even this early on in the year, I am already convinced that this will be one of my favourites of 2021!

With thanks to Zaffre Books and Tracy Fenton from Compulsive Readers for my ARC and for my spot on the blog tour.

**BLOG TOUR** Silent Voices by Patricia Gibney

Beth Mullen returns home expecting to find her twin sister, Rachel, at the house they share but she is not prepared for what she does find – Rachel is dead in her bed, seemingly poisoned in what looks like a horrifically painful death. Detective Lottie Parker realises that Ragmullin has another serial killer when a second woman is found dead in similar circumstances, a shard of glass having been found in both of their throats. When Lottie’s fiancé, Boyd, goes missing before their wedding, she knows it is something to do with the case. Can she find him before he suffers the same fate as the women?

This is the ninth book in Patricia Gibney’s Lottie Parker series and I am enjoying reading them just as much as ever. Over the course of the series, we have got to know Lottie, her family and her colleagues really well and each new book is like catching up with old friends. In Silent Voices, we see Lottie finally about to put her troubled past behind her by marrying her fiancé and colleague, Boyd. After everything that has happened to Lottie since the death of her first husband, we cannot begrudge her a little happiness but, in true Detective Parker style, you just know that things would not run smoothly!

This is probably one of the most complex plots of this series with numerous characters making you wonder how they were all going to connect. The author manages to do this with ease as the book progresses and, by the end, I felt I had a complete picture of who everyone was and how they became involved in such a heinous crime. This is a book very much about secrets and although we are given a hint quite early on in the book as to the event that triggered the murders, we do not know who the person is that it is referring to, leaving you guessing right until the end.

I think what I liked most in Silent Voices was how there were numerous, seemingly unconnected plots, each one tying together neatly by the end. I found myself connecting most with the character of Maddy, someone who Boyd encounters and becomes concerned about. I willed everything to work out well for Maddy and hoped that whatever it was that she had experienced in her past would be able to be resolved.

Silent Voices is another great book in the Lottie Parker series and, without giving too much away, I hope that the detective finds her happiness in book 10!

With thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for my copy and to Sarah Hardy for organising the blog tour.

Hammer Blow by John Nixon

When genealogist Madeleine Porter delivers the news to a client that she is about to inherit a sizable fortune from a long-lost relative, little does she know that she is about to open a huge can of worms. Researching the family of another client, Madeleine begins to realise that there is a connection between the two families and that they are tied together by an event that took place many years before. Someone else has knowledge of the story, however, and they will stop at nothing to get their revenge…

As a family historian myself, I love the Madeleine Porter books as there is a lot of emphasis placed on the research undertaken by the genealogist. For anyone wanting to start to look into their lineage, these books provide valuable nuggets of advice as to the steps you should take to begin your journey, giving hints as to the sources you can use and where you can find them.


Hammer Blow also has a great plot involving a murder that happened many years previously and the consequences of that fateful day. While, initially, I found myself getting confused by the characters and wishing I’d drawn up a family tree to see the connections, as the story progressed I found myself becoming clearer with who was who. In books like this, I often find a family tree included as part of the book helps, but this is impossible to do in Hammer Blow as it would give away much of the plot.

If you have an interest in family history and are looking for a quick read, I can definitely recommend the Madeleine Porter series. I will be looking forward to seeing where John Nixon takes the wonderful Madeleine Porter next.

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